Race for 24th congressional district in final stretch

Nov 5, 2012

After months of campaigning in the too-close-to-call 24th Congressional District race, it's almost time for voters to make their decision. The final weekend of the election season was a busy one.

There was nowhere to hide from electioneering in the final weekend of this hotly contested race, pitting incumbent Republican Ann Marie Buerkle against challengers Dan Maffei, a Democrat, and Ursula Rozum, a Green Party candidate.

Go to you mailbox, and you might find  a mailer from one campaign or the other. Answer the phone, and it could be campaign workers urging you to vote for their candidate. Turn on WSYR (Channel Nine) and hear candidates debate the issues Friday night.

And the candidates were busy themselves working on the get out the vote effort.

Democrat Dan Maffei says his campaign workers are working the phones to convince supporters to go to the polls.

"The most important thing is that people know how important this election is, and that they do in fact get out to vote, know where they are supposed to vote, and actually vote,"  said Maffei.

Buerkle's volunteers are working hard to get out the vote.  She says the information going out in this campaign has been unprecedented.

"We have literature printed in Vietnamese, in Chinese, in Spanish.  We've reached out to all communities all communities, to the Army community to the Jewish community, to make sure they understand my position," Buerkle said.

Green Party candidate Ursula Rozum, also is making a last minute push for voters, including touring the district over the weekend.

The get out the vote effort took on more importance than ever because the latest independent poll from Sienna College released Saturday showed the race still a statistical  dead head.

Buerkle and Maffei each received 44 percent of respondents votes and Rozum picked up support from eight percent of the voters. Looking at the numbers, the pollster says Buerkle and Maffei each have the support of about three-quarters of voters registered in their party, with Buerkle having a slight lead among independents.

Maffei's strongest support is in the city of Syracuse. And if the poll numbers hold up, Buerkle will get most of her votes from suburban Onondaga county and the outlying counties that make up the 24th district.  

The poll also shows that only two of ten voters will change their mind before election day, making the get out the vote effort of each camp, more important than ever.